09/08 26-20 W at TB
09/15 35-20 W GB
09/22 29-23 W at CHI
09/29 21-26 L at DET
10/06 32-29 W PIT
10/13 43-27 W at WAS
10/20 35-27 W SF
10/27 35-37 L ATL
11/10 34-24 W at CAR
11/17 17-24 L at ATL
11/24 15-24 L CLE
12/01 23-20 W TB
12/08 37-25 W at BAL
12/15 31-32 L MIN
12/22 13-20 L at CIN
12/29 6-10 L CAR
Looking at the first half of the season we beat quality teams such as: Tampa, Green Bay, and the 49'ers. The offense averaged 28.4 pts. per game and the defense allowed 23.2 pts per game.
In the second half of the season the only quality team we beat was the Bucs. The offense averaged 20.2 pts per game and the defense allowed 22.1 pts per game.
The defense actually improved in points allowed but the offense wasn't as productive. The biggest reason I see that the offense struggled is the reason most teams struggle at some point in the season. Injuries.
Look at the players that were injured on offense in the second half of the season:
While some teams can over come injuries better than others because they have better back-ups, I hardly think any team can maintain their high level of play with injuries to their starting QB, RB, and one of their best receivers.
I'm sure there were other reasons that the offense struggled down the stretch, but I don't think anyone can say injuries didn't play a big part.
Hopefully we will not have the injuries at the skill postions this year, but if we do, I do not feel comfortable with the depth at running back. The QB position I feel pretty good with, if all the good things I've read about Bouman are true. At the receiver position, we're about as deep as it gets, so I fell comfortable there.
Some teams defenses are so good that they actually win games for their teams , which was not the case last year for the Saints defense.
Given our scoring ability on offense and our great special teams, if our defense can hold teams to a respectable number, we are capiable of beating any team on the schedule.
When I look at areas of improvement this year, this is the order I see it in:
2. Coaching (adjustments, play calling, etc..)
3. Brooks ( must not make as many mistakes)
Realistically speaking, Brooks should have a good year if he and the other players on offense stay healthy.
Denfense is a different story. This is anyones guess, but I'm guessing they will be improved this year. They don't have to be great. If they can just bend and not break. If they can just hold the other teams to field goals most of the time, I think we will come out winners more times than not.
BC I usually agree with most of what you say. Not that I totally disagree with what you say here but I must point out one VERY important part that you failed to mention. The tightend! The addition of Conwell I think will add so much to our offense. I feel he will give AB a outlet and Ab will not have to force so many of his throws or make so many hurried decesions. Having a real tightend for change will enable AB to dump off the short over the middle pass that has haunted us for so long. This one addition alone will make an incomplete, int, or sack turn into a 5 or 10 yard gain more times than not IF AB utilizes this new weapon.
I was basically making a point that injuries played a big part in the offensive decline last year.
I did fail to mention the tight end who, by the way, was also injured last year.
You have a good point. The tightend is usually a QB\'s security blanket when he is in trouble. Usually these are high percentage completion throws, which prove out your theory that it will improve Brooks\' production and also keep drives alive.
There is no reason that the Saints should not have better production from the tightend position this year, unless it just isn\'t in the coaches game plan. I don\'t think that is the case, because of the fact they brought in Conwell this year.
The 2002 Saints: What went wrong?
Defense was spotty; tackling dismal at times
By DON HAMMACK
THE SUN HERALD
Wins and losses
Here\'s a breakdown of the records for the teams on the Saints schedule:
Tampa Bay 12-4
Green Bay 12-4
San Francisco 10-6
Tampa Bay 12-4
Total 81-62-1 (.563)
Total 45-65-2 (.348)
There is one set of statistics above all others that frustrated New Orleans Saints fans to no end this season.
The nine games they won came against teams with a winning percentage of .563. They were victims in the seven games they lost to teams that had a combined record of 45-65-2.
\"Every week you have to come out and perform,\" Saints coach Jim Haslett said. \"When we played Minnesota their record wasn\'t very good. They were playing very well at the time. When we played Cincinnati, we didn\'t play very well. We stunk up the joint. We didn\'t deserve to win the game.
\"There are 32 good football teams (in the NFL). Houston beat Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh is going to the playoffs. You have to play at a high level every single week, week in and week out to be successful in this league. We did not do that.\"
Talking about \"focus\" and \"intensity\" are nebulous characteristics, ones not easily quantifiable. There are more easily-identifiable aspects of the game that the Saints need to improve on for next season.
Dropped passes - Saints coach Jim Haslett said his club dropped nearly four passes per game. That\'s about twice the league average and it\'s a number that\'s really puts a crimp in the Saints offense.
Add 32 receptions onto Aaron Brooks\' totals and it drives him to almost exactly 60 percent. That\'s the magic number that the West Coast offense strives for, even though the Saints run a much more run- and vertical passing-oriented hybrid that makes a 60 or 65 percent completion percentage more difficult to obtain.
Pass protection - Protection for Brooks was inconsistent. His athleticism bailed the line, tight ends and running backs out of some jams, even as his sometimes shaky pocket awareness added to the sack total. As a whole, they both need to help the other out.
The offensive line bears the brunt of the responsibility in protection, but a missed assignment by running back Deuce McAllister can open the door for a sack as quickly as one by right guard LeCharles Bentley or his compadres. The line had to acclimate to each other quickly and the coaching staff hopes the cohesion will only improve with another offseason together.
Second-half running game - The injury to McAllister put a big dent in the offense. He averaged right at 100 yards per game before getting hurt against the Falcons in the 10th game of the season. It dropped off only 13 yards per game after he returned following one missed game, but the more important stat was a decrease of a half-yard per carry.
Rush defense - The Saints gave up a lot of big plays in the running game. The Heavy Lunch Bunch concept wasn\'t all it was cracked up to be. The coaches are re-evaluating that as well as the players manning the defensive tackle position.
The speed on the offensive side of the football has dramatically improved under the Haslett regime. Look for the Saints to try to do the same thing on the defensive side of the ball this offseason.
Better fundamentals - Bits and pieces of this problem have been addressed above, but here\'s the big umbrella. The Saints have to tackle better, catch better and block better.
The tackling, at times, was beyond poor. The Saints have to shore up their defense\'s abilities in this area for next season.
Brooks continued to play injured, and despite what the coaching staff says, no human being can throw a football accurately when tendons are ripped from bone. Sure injuries were a problem, but the offense didnt even get a chance to try to \"overcome\" them, since Brooks was left in multiple games despite obviously being ineffective. There is no doubt in my mind that last years team could have \"overcome the injuries\" had the coaching staff made the correct, although difficult, decision to take Brooks off the field.
I know this has all been said before, and I agree with everyone that a healthy Brooks can perform.
One last thing, am I the only person that thinks back to the Jeff Hostetler led Giants, and then thinks what might have been had the coaches would have just put in Jake
(Im not saying they would have won the Superbowl, I know the defense most probably would not have held up, but at least we would have had a shot at it)
It never fails to amaze how most everyone is so high on Jake. I liked the guy too but he never showed the ability to lead the team. He has been on the roster for how many years and never has been able to break into the starting line up? He has bounced from 3rd to 2nd to 1st strings to wind up as a back up. This has all transpired over the years with several head coaches. Not just Haz. Yes he has played some spot duty here and there and at times looked ok but never to the point of saying he\'s the man!
Maybe the coaches felt that a 50% AB was better than a 100% Jake.. Next year will tell the tale of Jake\'s ability. Let\'s see if he wins that starting job in Carolina or if he ends as a back up again. Time will tell but we still have AB and I think that Bowman is a better back up than Jake. We did alright with this deal. As for last year maybe putting in Jake when AB was hurt might have made a difference but we\'ll never know will we?
OK maybe \"NEVER\" was a bad choice of words but what about the next game? What about the next training camp? What about EVER beating out ANYONE for the starting job? Truth is he \"NEVER\" beat out anyone for a starting position. Not Wuerfell, Not Blake, Not Collins, and not AB....I only ask why? The answer has to be because those guys have or had something he doesn\'t. N.O. fans are the best in the entire NFL (my opinion) but to a fault they are also way to loyal to the local \"hometown boy\". He has his chance now to start anew and I wish the very best except for two regular season games a year. We\'ll see. I\'m betting he isn\'t the starting QB in Carolina for the entire year.
i wish him all the luck also, except when he visits the dome and we visit the carolinas.
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